After more than 20 years of law enforcement service, John F. Cardani, Williams Police chief announced Monday his plan to retire, effective Aug. 3.
Cardani has been the police chief in Williams for the past eight and 1/2 years.
He said he will be relocating to Flagstaff with his wife of 19 years, Nola, who is employed there as a dispatch trainer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and their two children, Rebecca and Michael.
“Our future goals will include spending a great deal of time together as a family, continuing to raise and train registered horses, and I will be teaching criminal justice classes at Coconino Community College,” he said. “Nola has been such a wonderful wife, and I would like to focus on her personal and professional goals now.
“I want to support and encourage her, as she has done for me during my career.”
Cardani grew up in Williams, as did his father, Albert, who was born in this community. His grandparents, Giovanni and Angela Cardani, moved to Williams from Italy in 1913 and made Williams their home where they raised five children.
“It has been an honor being the police chief here in Williams,” he said. “I will miss those who have given support and encouragement over the years.”
Cardani started his law enforcement career in Williams under Chief Gordon Wheeler, who appointed Cardani to the position of reserve officer. In 1978, he graduated from the Northern Arizona Reserve Police Academy, then held at Northern Arizona University, while still attending Williams High School. Cardani then attended Yavapai College in Prescott, where he studied criminal justice, while continuing as a reserve police officer in Williams.
He was promoted to full-time officer in 1980, and worked for “Red” Durnez, Williams chief, for the next year, while attending NAU at the same time.
Cardani left the WPD in August 1981 to accept a position with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked in both patrol and jail divisions as a deputy sheriff. Cardani was promoted to the position of sergeant in 1986 and worked in both Flagstaff and the Williams/Grand Canyon substation for Sheriff Joe Richards until his appointment to the position of police chief in Williams in March 1992.
“I continue to hold Sheriff Richards in high regard and have seen him as a mentor during, my law enforcement career,” Cardani said.
Cardani mentioned items he is proud of during his tenure in Williams including being instrumental in initiating a community policing philosophy within the department and completing departmental policy guidelines.
“I have encouraged community involvement and continued to stress professionalism and quality service within the WPD.” he said. “As with any law enforcement agency, the WPD must continue to strive toward excellence.”
“Those working for the WPD must remember that they serve the people and continue to listen to the needs and concerns of the community.”
His list of accomplishments include improved equipment and technology, issuing departmental weapons, a new police facility and higher wages for police personnel. Programs initiated include Hug-A-Tree, the Child Identification Program, DARE, Neighborhood Watch, School Resource, the Challenge Program and the File for Life. Other Programs include Officer Friendly, the downtown community policing position, and METRO.
During his law enforcement career, Cardani has served on the Northern Arizona METRO Narcotics Task Force Board of Directors and as chairman. He has also chaired the Governor’s Alliance Against Drugs, served on Citizens Against Substance Abuse Executive Board, Arizona Law Enforcement Academy Academic Advisory Board, Northern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy Academic Advisory Board, Yavapai College Curriculum Oversight Committee, and Arizona Association Of Chiefs of Police Bylaws Committee. He has been active with the City of Williams Development Review Team and has been involved with the Williams Housing Authority Review Committee.
Cardani has held membership in the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Association of Chiefs of Police and Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police. He is certified as an Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST) general instructor and specialty instructor, and has taught classes at law enforcement training academies in Tucson and Prescott, and Yavapai Reserve Police Academy.
Cardani has also instructed many agencies throughout the state, in the area of emergency driving techniques. Training ranged from basic academy level skills to in-service and AZPOST testing.
He has been a member of the Williams Rotary Club and assisted with the Kaibab Equestrian 4-H Club.
Cardani’s resignation will be discussed in executive session at Thursday’s Williams City Council meeting.